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Tamil Nadu is no longer the top state in terms of installed solar capacity.
Ministry of new and renewable energy data, released in the Lok Sabha, shows that at end-June, TN, with an installed capacity of 1697 MW, fell behind Andhra Pradesh (2010.87 MW) and Rajasthan (1961 MW).
Statistics show only 630 MW of solar power was installed in Tamil Nadu in 2016-17 against 919.24 MW in 2015-16. In the same period, Andhra Pradesh added 1,294 MW, Karnataka 882 MW and Telangana 759 MW. Across the country, around 5525 MW of solar energy was added in 2016-17, an increase of 66% over 2015-16.
Unlike Andhra Pradesh, which acquires land for solar parks, TN leaves developers the land acquisition responsibility, which takes time.
"The prices (the agreed price to be paid to solar developers) have dropped to 4 a unit. At this rate, the margins might be too low for small and medium players," said Saswat Das, an energy auditor in Chennai. Sources say Tangedco's reputation of delayed payments an issue raised with energy secretary Vikram Kapur at a meeting early this week could also be playing on developers' minds.
"This is not surprising considering the state's reputation when it comes to curtailment and payment issues," said a December 2016 report by communications firm MERCOM. Kapur promised to resolve the issue.
In a recent submission to Tamil Nadu Energy Regulatory Commission (TNERC), Tangedco said it did not get the expected response to two tenders floated in October 2016 and January 2017. The first tender for 500 MW, at 5.10 a unit got bids for only 122 MW, while the second saw bid submissions for only 236 MW.
Tangedco chairman and managing director M Saikumar said demonetisation could be a possible reason for the response to the bids, but added that things were looking up. "Recently we finalised tenders for 1500 MW. It was over-subscribed by three times and we had to restrict it 1500 MW with the ones who bid lowest," he said.
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